Apparently April is the time of year when I announce that we are expecting babies. So here goes again: I haven't been around here much for the past few months, and the reason for that is that I haven't been feeling great, and therefore haven't been cooking. The reason for that, in turn, is that there's another tiny person residing inside of my belly. This person is with any luck going to wait and come out healthy and plump sometime at the end of September.
It's exciting, and given our history a little scary, and has also been totally different this time around. I am hungry. Scary hungry. Alex asked me with a hint of awe this morning how many calories I think I actually consume in a day. Frankly, I don't want to know.
I'd have popped by to tell you about some of this eating, except that none of it has been at all remarkable in the recipe department, and much of it has involved very non-local cravings for things like South American cantaloupes and California strawberries and those spinach hand pies that Dianne Collatos from the farmers' markets makes. (She will make a dozen on special order in the off season, in case you're wondering.)
That said, I think I am turning a corner. I'm still tired and sometimes slightly nauseated by the time the dinner hour rolls around, but I made an actual recipe the other day. With a seasonal vegetable! Worthy of sharing! Ring the bells, people.
What you see up there is a kale caesar salad. Kind of a strange concept maybe, but totally understandable once you bite in. I found the recipe on Cup of Jo and knew right away it was a keeper. It takes the things I like about a good Caesar dressing—the tang of the lemon juice, the pungence of the garlic—and amplifies them. It is not a salad to eat on a first date. It is chock full of anchovies and mustard and roasted garlic and all kinds of things that make your breath go haywire and your taste buds come alive. Luckily, Alex and I are past the point where things like this might scare him away.
And so I have been eating this salad with reckless abandon. If you like both kale and Caesar salads, I highly recommend it. Turning on the oven and forge ahead; sometimes it pays to be brave.
KALE CAESAR SALAD
This recipe comes from Phoebe Lapine of Feed Me Phoebe via Cup of Jo, with a few small tweaks.
for the salad:
1 bunch dinosaur (lacinato) kale
1/4 cup whole wheat Panko or bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
for the dressing:
1 head garlic
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon capers
2 anchovy filets, plus extra for serving
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
First make the dressing. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Take the outer layers of skin off the garlic and chop off the top 1/4 inch of the head so you can see the individual cloves inside. Place the garlic in the center of a sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap tightly. Roast for 30 minutes, until the cloves are soft. Remove the foil and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, toast the Panko crumbs. Spread them on a baking sheet, drizzle them with the olive oil, and toast until golden brown—about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
When you can tough the garlic, squeeze the cloves into a food processor. Puree along with 1/3 cup olive oil and the lemon juice, capers, two anchovies, and the mustard and salt. The dressing should be thick.
Now put together the salad. Cut the kale into thing ribbons, removing any thick parts of the stalks. Put the kale in a bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of the dressing, the Parmesan cheese, and the Panko crumbs. Serve at once. If you like anchovies, I recommend layering a few on top.